SEA Games: Singapore lose badminton team semis, retain men’s and women’s bronze
PHNOM PENH – Amid the cacophony of clappers, kompang drums, air horns, tambourines and whistles inside the Morodok Techo National Stadium badminton hall, Singapore retained their SEA Games badminton men’s and women’s team bronze medals after losing in the semi-finals, but may look back at what could have been.
The national men’s team shared the bronze with Thailand after losing 3-1 on Wednesday to Indonesia, who will face Malaysia in Thursday’s final.
Loh Kean Yew’s voodoo against Indonesian players continued as the world No. 4 could not capitalise on his three matchpoints, and slipping on the only one he faced to lose 10-21, 21-7, 24-22 against 19th-ranked Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo.
He said: “It was anyone’s game, it was down to who was more consistent and did not make the mistake, and today he was the better player. I lost, so of course I could have done better, but it wasn’t all bad and I felt I coped well under the pressure.”
Terry Hee and Loh Kean Hean then put up a good fight against 2022 All England Open champions Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana but were beaten 21-15, 21-17.
World No. 86 Jason Teh kept Singapore’s hopes alive with a spirited 15-21, 21-12, 21-14 win over 59th-ranked Christian Adinata.
But while former junior world No. 1s and Games debutants Nge Joo Jie and Johann Prajogo took the game to world No. 33 Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob, they could not prevent a 21-18, 21-16 defeat.
Singapore Badminton Association technical director Martin Andrew felt that losing 3-1 to Indonesia was “no disgrace”.
He added: “It would have been great if Kean Yew managed to win today. There were a couple of errors at the wrong times, but we can’t fault his effort and intensity. Jason fought well and showed he was brave to change the game plan for his second and third games.
“Our first doubles took on very strong opponents but unforced errors here and there cost us, and our two young boys had a go and would have learnt about the transition from junior to senior level, where their attacks would more often than not come back at them. But I’m very proud of the players and their effort.”
In the women’s team semi-finals, Singapore also picked up a shared bronze with the Philippines after losing 3-1 to Thailand, who will meet Indonesia on Thursday in a repeat of the 2022 final.
With good movement and shot execution, world No. 34 Yeo Jia Min got the Republic off to a fine start with a 21-15, 21-6 win over 23rd-ranked Lalinrat Chaiwan, whom she lost to at the previous Games in 2022.
World No. 20 women’s doubles pair Jin Yujia and Crystal Wong then combined superbly to win the first game against ninth-ranked Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai, but had too many lapses later as they lost 12-21, 21-9, 21-14.
A 2-0 lead would have put pressure on the defending champions, but Singapore seemed deflated after being pegged back by stronger opponents.
Insyirah Khan, ranked 75th, found it tough to break down world No. 24 and leftie Supanida Katethong, who won 21-11, 21-8, before unranked Games debutantes Heng Xiao En and Elsa Lai were outclassed in their 21-6, 21-7 loss to world No. 12 sisters pair Benyapa and Nuntakarn Aimsaard.
Andrew, who also did not expect the women’s team to beat Thailand, said: “We had a great start and opportunities but our first doubles pair struggled after a change of tactics from the Thais, and we couldn’t get our noses in front after that.”
The Republic will be represented by younger players in the individual events that start on Friday, as the senior players will be travelling to Suzhou, China, on Thursday for the May 14-21 Sudirman Cup.